Monday, October 31, 2016

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon was warned to cut back on his boozing by NBC chiefs following a series of bizarre late-night accidents, according to multiple insiders.
An NBC insider said of the funnyman, “There were fears that Fallon was out of control and something could happen while he’s out drinking. Things got so serious at one stage that execs feared that Jimmy was splitting up with his wife over his drinking, but they patched things up.”

The beloved “Tonight Show” host’s recent allegedly alcohol-aided antics include tripping on a rug at home and nearly severing his ring finger on a table in June 2015.

Then he chipped his tooth “trying to open medicine for his injured finger” a few months later. In October 2015 he cut his hand on a bottle of J├Ągermeister. In September of this year a “very drunk” Fallon was seen alone at an NYC punk bar at 3 a.m, which sparked more NBC concerns.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

N.S.A. Appears to Have Missed ‘Big Red Flags’ in Suspect’s Behavior

WASHINGTON — Year after year, both in his messy personal life and his brazen theft of classified documents from the National Security Agency, Harold T. Martin III put to the test the government’s costly system for protecting secrets.

And year after year, the system failed.

Mr. Martin got and kept a top-secret security clearance despite a record that included drinking problems, a drunken-driving arrest, two divorces, unpaid tax bills, a charge of computer harassment and a bizarre episode in which he posed as a police officer in a traffic dispute. Under clearance rules, such events should have triggered closer scrutiny by the security agencies where he worked as a contractor.

From The New York Times.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Warren Hinckle

Peter Collier on the passing of Warren Hinckle:

When I joined Ramparts in 1966, Hinckle was already well on his way at age twenty-seven to becoming a living legend. While most of the staff came to work in street-fighter chic, he had his own homemade version of bella figura, showing up most days in a tie and three-piece suit, although sometimes changing pace with patent leather dancing pumps and a maroon velvet jacket. Jowly and plump and conveying an impression of fluid retention, he was an imperious alcoholic and only those who didn’t realize how Irish he was regarded it as paradoxical that he should become more fluent and inventive the more he drank, and that he never—even after several hours at Cookie Pacetti’s, the working-class watering hole where he went to escape intellectuals and politicos—appeared drunk.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker

 ... French journalist Jean Quatremer, who conducted the interview, said Mr Juncker glugged four glasses of champagne during the course of their light lunch.

He recalled how during a previous meeting when Mr Juncker was prime minister of Luxembourg, he had drunk three straight glasses of cognac at the end of a meal where he had enjoyed many glasses of white wine.

Some observations:

High tolerance for alcohol is often a sign of alcoholism. 
Denial can be a confirming symptom

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Two United pilots arrested for being too DRUNK to fly

  • Brady Grebenc, 35, and Carlos Licona, 45, were arrested Saturday at 9am
  • The pair had been scheduled to fly from Glasgow, Scotland, to Newark, NJ
  • But they were taken in by police after 'concerns were raised' 
  • They are currently in police custody on suspicion of trying to fly drunk 
  • Both claim to be military vets and instructors with decades of experience
  • Licona was awarded in 2013 by the FAA for being a 'positive example'
  • New crew eventually took the 141 passengers to New Jersey ten hours later

Friday, August 26, 2016

Co-pilot was nearly 4 times over legal limit

A co-pilot on a charter plane in Michigan bound for Massachusetts was arrested Thursday after a colleague suspected that he was drunk.

Traverse City police Capt. Kevin Dunklow said the Talon Air co-pilot’s breath test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.30, nearly four times the legal threshold for drunken driving.

Talon Air praised its employee for discovering the suspect was drunk.

“We are very proud of Captain Manny Ramirez’ immediate action in detecting the co-pilot’s condition and removing him from his position,” Talon Air said. “This is yet another example of Talon Air’s safety procedures working effectively on behalf of our clients and for airport safety.”

Talon Air said the co-pilot was “immediately terminated” following the incident. His name hasn’t been released.
Considering the difficulty of identifying alcoholics it is probable that the percentage of licensed commercial pilots who are active alcoholics is similar to the percentage for the general public.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Ivan the Not-So-Terrible

by Neil MacFarquahar

 The governor of the small Russian region of Oryol is trying to convince people that Ivan the Terrible was not so bad.
 ...  Ivan’s more dubious deeds include founding the first version of Russia’s secret police and beating his own son to death.

For my views on Ivan read pages 161-166 in Vessels of Rage ...

Also available on Google Play.  


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Joe McGinniss

by Joe McGinniss, Jr.

An excerpt:

" ... When we were kids, my sisters and I had a house rule: if it’s after seven, don’t answer the phone. None of us wanted to be the one to pick up if it was dad, his voice dulled, the words slurred and sprawling."

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Phil Parker, Who Helped Homeless Alcoholics, Dies at 86

by Sam Roberts

Phil Parker, the son of a Baptist preacher, said he had never tasted liquor until his Harvard graduate school classmates lured him into a smoky cocktail lounge for the first time.

“This night in the bar was like no other time in my life,” he wrote years later. “Not only was I completely at ease, but I actually loved all the strangers around me and they loved me in return, I thought, all because of this magic potion, alcohol.”

After that, he wrote, he lived only to drink. He graduated, but was fired from one teaching job after another, wound up in an asylum and finally landed homeless on the then-squalid Bowery in Manhattan in the mid-1960s. There, he met a social worker, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, who told him how she had sobered up.


Phil Parker in an undated photo. Mr. Parker had been sober for nearly 48 years when he died. Credit Dana McCoy

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Moby Looks Back

The techno music pioneer has reached middle age, with a new memoir out about his struggles with alcohol, poverty and success.

 ...  Moby, born Richard Melville Hall and now 50 years old, has sold more than 20 million albums world-wide; his dozen official releases include “Play” (1999), “18” (2002) and “Innocents” (2013). It wasn’t an easy path. He grew up poor in an affluent Connecticut suburb and battled alcoholism for almost two decades.

 ... Moby was drinking heavily by the late 1980s, before becoming sober for a few years and then starting to drink again in 1995.

Read it all at The Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

False Accusations

Shameless self-plug:
"Simply stated, false accusations are aggressive lies, but we also know them in milder form as spin, slanting the facts, one-sidedness, tailoring the message, and so on.

"Note: I got the idea of the importance of false accusations from a book I am reading on alcoholism: Vessels of Rage, Engines of Power: The Secret History of Alcoholism.

"The author of this book, James Graham, makes the claim repeatedly that alcoholics very often engage in false accusations. In discussing this book with my partner, we came to conclude that Graham is right about this—false accusations do seem to be common among the alcoholics we both know."

My thanks to the author whose website is here.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Swigging tequila from a fan's hip flask, Madonna suffered another onstage meltdown yesterday as she branded ex-husband Guy Ritchie a 'son of a b***h' ...

The 57-year-old singer, locked in a bitter custody dispute with Guy over their son Rocco, couldn't contain her emotions during a second mumbling show in Melbourne, Australia.

Her ‘chaotic’ appearance at the Rod Laver Arena included an emotional plea to the crowd, begging, 'Somebody take care of me please. Who is going to take care of me?'

... Erratic behaviour: Fans expressed their concern that Madonna was drunk as she performed in Australia. At one point she asked for a cosmopolitan cocktail to be brought on stage for her (circled)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


  • David Hans Arntson, 60, was charged in January with operating a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Random test showed he flew two flights on June 20, 2014, with blood alcohol levels of 0.134 and 0.142; the legal limit for pilots is 0.04 
  • Flights were from San Diego to Portland, Oregon, and then Portland to Orange County 
  • Arnston could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the charges 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Leonard Nimoy

Alcoholic alien who was my worst enemy - and best friend: Star Trek's William Shatner tells the emotional story of his friendship with co-star Spock  

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy became best friends after Star Trek

  • They had no idea they were creating two of TV's most iconic characters
  • Shatner played constant pranks, and eventually won Nimoy's friendship
  • Nimoy was an alcoholic, which he kept secret while filming the TV show 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle

Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle got drunk on flight home from Thailand rehab centre, court hears

The actor who played Lord Grantham's valet Mr Bates in the ITV drama was pulled over by police in his his BMW convertible

Sunday, January 3, 2016

For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother’s Suffering

From The New York Times of January 3, 2016:

 ... For Mr. Trump, a presidential candidate whose appeal is predicated on an aura of toughness, personal achievement and perpetual success, the story of Freddy, a handsome, gregarious and self-destructive figure who died as an alcoholic in 1981 at the age of 43, is bleak and seldom told.
In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Trump said he had learned by watching his brother how bad choices could drag down even those who seemed destined to rise. Seeing his brother suffering led him to avoid ever trying alcohol or cigarettes, he said.
I found it interesting that Donald Trump's brother had been an alcoholic air line pilot who had eventually stopped flying of his own volition. Having met more than one active alcoholic who was employed as an airline pilot, I believe he was an exception.

(For the skeptics: I learned many years ago that there is a sub-group within AA of pilots who were alcoholics in recovery. They call themselves "Birds of a Feather." Moreover, Buzz Aldrin, who was a test pilot before becoming an astronaut and going, literally, to the moon, has disclosed that he was an active alcoholic while performing those challenging jobs.)